Coffmangate: Let The Resignations Begin

Marilyn Marks, Becky Mizel.

Marilyn Marks, Becky Mizel.

Today, two principal figures in the Coffmangate extortion scandal announced their resignations from posts in the Colorado Republican Party, following the vote last week by the party’s executive committee 22-1 to support embattled chairman Steve House. The first resignation was that of elections crackpot activist Marilyn Marks, exiting the state GOP’s Elections Oversight Committee. From her scathing, if a bit muddled and agitated resignation letter dated today:

I sincerely regret that I cannot serve effectively on this committee to help mitigate the escalating risks to Republican candidates as we move toward 2016. I cannot advance the righteous cause of the party where leadership provides inconsistent policy guidance with frequent embarrassing reversals and re-­‐reversals of direction on issues of election quality. I have wasted much valuable time that should have been devoted to 2016 election security in attempting to recover from erratic changes of policy direction from Chairman House…

My experience with Chairman House in election public policy matters is consistent. His policy is unfailing inconsistency. No matter which policy he adopts and asks me to submit to officials, the position will be reversed if officials object. [Pols emphasis]

…Most troubling is the fundamental philosophy House expressed to me several weeks ago in the context of the party’s future policies for election security. He stated that the job of the party is to represent both the voters and the official stance of the Republican election officials in suitable compromises. He stated that our positions must be acceptable to election officials, implying that the Republican party is to represent the government in dealing with the voters. Such backwards philosophies will only lead to more conflict with House and more episodes of his approving, then disapproving and then disavowing the work of the Committee. I cannot be effective in such an environment. The work of the Committee is to promote oversight of elections, not to represent the interests that the government may have in denial of the problems.

Marks’ letter of resignation was addressed to Becky Mizel, the chair of the Elections Oversight Committee and also chair of the Pueblo Republican Party. You’ll recall that Mizel, a longtime malcontent within the Colorado GOP and one of the cabal of GOP officials led by Attorney General Cynthia Coffman who allegedly threatened Steve House with reprisals if he didn’t resign, was the lone vote cast against House on the GOP executive committee last Friday. A short while after her own resignation, Marks posted to Facebook:

Becky Mizel resigned today as Chair of the Election Oversight Committee of the Republican state party. I had just done the same a bit earlier in the day. We were following the direction of Chairman House in submitting comments to the Secretary of State on Watcher rights and responsibilities with the Republican Party position. He then disavowed our association with the party…

We haven’t heard if Mizel has also resigned as chair of the Pueblo Republican Party, but in the aftermath of Friday’s vote, she couldn’t be more isolated. At this point, Mizel’s continued leadership of Pueblo Republicans is a detriment to that party’s efforts there, since it’s clear that Mizel cannot work effectively with the state party’s chairman. It’s what happens, as the saying goes, when you strike at the king but don’t kill him.

It’s widely believed that Marks’ agitation about “threats” to fair elections in 2016 were a big part of her alienation of Steve House. Marks’ unreasonable and strident posturing on election issues has made her a pariah on both sides of the aisle, but Republicans humored her for long enough to leave her deeply entrenched–and ready to formulate red-on-red conspiracy theories over basically any quibble. As for Mizel, it’s easy to find fellow Republicans willing to assign the label of “batshit crazy” to her, not to mention Democrats–which helps explain why she was so ready to team up with Tom Tancredo to frag the state GOP’s leadership.

Where do these resignations leave the other principal (employed) actor in the “Coffmangate” drama, Cynthia Coffman?

Not looking real good, that’s for sure.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (June 30)

MoreSmarterLogo-300x218We hope your abbreviated holiday week is…well, abbreviated! It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Presidential candidate Rand Paul of Kentucky is holding a big-ticket fundraiser today in Denver with Colorado’s budding (pun intended) marijuana industry:

Paul becomes the first major-party presidential candidate to publicly court donations from the pot industry. Though legal weed businesses owners have been active political donors for years, presidential candidates have shied away from holding fundraisers made up entirely of marijuana-related business owners.

Paul has joined Democrats in the Senate to sponsor a bill to end the federal prohibition of marijuana for medical reasons. The senator also backs a federal drug-sentencing overhaul.

And at $2,700 a throw, they’ll be paying top dollar for Sen. Paul’s time.

► Speaking of the weed, Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey is kicking off his own presidential campaign. Christie drew jeers from Colorado politicos on both sides of the aisle after he vowed to shut down our state’s retail marijuana industry–and before that, Christie helped sow dissent within the Colorado Republican Party by backing eventual loser Bob Beauprez in last year’s gubernatorial primary. All told, we don’t see Christie carrying our state in next year’s caucuses.

► Also, Ted Cruz says you can ignore the U.S. Supreme Court when you don’t like what they say! That seems certain to end well.

► We’re not sure exactly how you celebrate the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling yesterday weakening the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate mercury emissions from power plants, but the energy industry’s always-enthusiastic surrogates are ready to try:

“It’s great the Supreme Court would be looking realistically at this. . . . Maybe somewhere along the line it will bring some common sense in terms of energy,” former Pueblo state Senator George Rivera said.

As a state senator, Rivera regularly voiced concerns about the higher costs of electricity resulting from the closure of coal-fired power plants and other government environmental mandates.

Translation: hooray mercury emissions? Fortunately, Colorado is already ahead of the feds in reducing mercury emissions, so yesterday’s ruling won’t leave our state choking. Sorry, other states.

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Pinto resigns then whines

(Nice work if you can get it – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Former Colorado GOP chairman Ryan Call, Jefferson County Communications Officer Lisa Pinto.

Former Colorado GOP chairman Ryan Call, Jefferson County Communications Officer Lisa Pinto.

Since she left her job as communications director for the Jefferson County Schools, Lisa Pinto took the highly unusual step, for a low-level public relations professional (alleged), of actually whining about her tenure at Jeffco and drawing media attention to herself.

In a June 19 op-ed in the Colorado Statesman, and another earlier interview on KNUS 710-AM’s Kelley and Company (below), Pinto slammed the community activists, the teachers’ union, and other villains for making her job miserable and undermining public education in Jeffco. She’s relieved, as she told KNUS below, to now be playing golf and not thinking about politics. (And, she adds, she’s a good golfer!)

Of course, one of the worst aspects of conservative talk radio is its one-sided nature, so I thought it would be worth spotlighting a counter op-ed that appeared in the Colorado Statesman yesterday, by Jim Earley, a Jeffco community activist.

Earley: There is no question that Lisa Pinto’s short tenure as chief communications officer for Jeffco Public Schools was troubled from the start. From the flawed interview process and dubious qualifications, her connections to school board member Ken Witt and others through the Leadership of the Rockies program, her subsequent decision to hire known conservative media consultancy Novitas Communications for $50,000 to assist in what should be her core job duties, to a series of mind-boggling social media debacles, and culminating in a PR disaster when the district refused to host the governor for a bill signing, there’s little doubt that Pinto was not a good fit for the job.

Pinto’s resignation should have been the end of it. Yet, in a guest column published by The Colorado Statesman last week, Pinto combines what can only be considered as sour grapes about her time in Jeffco, with the standard, party line, union-as-thug rhetoric. It stands to reason that with so much controversy surrounding Pinto’s tenure that a little self-reflection ought to be the order of the day; perhaps, as Pinto herself noted, “a CT scan” would do to introspect on what really went wrong.

“… a billion-dollar professional services corporation is going through a necessary turnaround while under attack by a guerrilla group …” Pinto fails to recognize that many Jeffco residents do understand what is happening. Using terms like “guerrilla group” as a connotation for the JCEA is debasing, and serves no purpose other than to vilify teachers, and many Jeffco residents aren’t buying into the petty name-calling.

“This was a lesson for me, not having an ego, trying to do the right thing,” says Pinto at the end of her radio interview. “And I realize there are some things that can’t be fixed.”

Not by her. She’s right there.

(more…)

New Anti-Spam Countermeasures Installed

Readers have most likely noticed a large increase in the amount of spam posted to our blog in the last few weeks. We’ve just installed new WordPress countermeasures to deal with this problem, and we’re testing to make sure they work properly. If you have any trouble logging in or posting comments over the next few days, please email us at webmaster@coloradopols.com with a description of the problem.

Thanks for your patience, and for God’s sake, don’t buy anything from these jokers.

Tancredo says Republicans told him they were “scared” to vote against House

(No peace in our times – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado GOP chairman Steve House.

Colorado GOP chairman Steve House.

After being banned, at least temporarily, from KLZ 560-AM last week, Tom Tancredo’s familiar voice spiced up the airwaves on KNUS 710-AM this morning, as he chatted with Peter Boyles about the (as of now) failed attempt to oust Steve House as GOP Party Chair.

Tancredo said more high-ranking Republicans want to oust Steve House than you might think, judging from the Colorado GOP’s Executive Committee’s 22-1 vote Friday to retain House as party chair.

Tancredo said he talked to members of the Executive Committee who were scared of “retribution” if they voted against House during the open vote of the committee on Friday.

Tancredo: “There was a motion, as I understand it, to make it a closed vote because people are, you know, let’s face it, the chairman is sitting right there, you’re maybe intimidated to some extent to vote openly,” Tancredo told Boyles, adding later (Listen @7:45 below), “No, truly, we talked to people afterwards who said, Hey, I just couldn’t do it, man. I was scared to do anything. Retribution.”

Boyles: No, they were afraid!

Tancredo: These fantastic jobs these people have, you know? No pay. Yet, it’s their own little bit of heaven, you know?

Republican activist Kathryn Porter, who joined Tancredo on Boyles’ show, agreed, saying:

Porter: The 22-1 vote, I don’t believe that’s how those people in that room felt for one minute. I believe that vote was a mask. It was a façade to give the impression of Party unity. And I can tell you for a fact, we do not have that.

Tancredo told Boyles that the committee refused to review the full accusations against House. Tancredo said he had “three-to-four pages” of concerns about House, with no mention of the alleged affair, ready to distribute to the executive committee, but he was not allowed to hand it out. Neither was Pueblo Country Chair Becky Mizel, who sits on the committee, Tancredo told Boyles. (Alleged tweets about the affair were detailed by Craig Silverman on KNUS Saturday.)

But one of Tancredo’s concerns is, apparently, Steve House’s attacks on former Sen. Ted Harey.

Tancredo: “These are big problems. You call say a senator, I’ve forgotten how many years Ted [Harvey] served — you go to people in the media and to the attorney general and tell them that he’s going bankrupt, that his family is leaving him, and that you’re afraid he might embezzle money. I mean this is a guy of sterling qualities. You might not agree with Ted on stuff. But the reality is he’s an honest guy with a wonderful family. All this was concocted. You say this about people, and you can get yourlself sued, get the Party sued. These were the issues we were bringing to his attention.”

(more…)

Cynthia Coffman Can’t Stop Copping To Blackmail

Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman.

Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman.

Last Friday’s overwhelming vote by the Colorado Republican Party executive committee to support embattled chairman Steve House was, depending on how you look at it, the worst development yet in a two-week nightmare of boomeranging disaster for Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman. Now that the coup attempt against House has failed to a complete extent even we could not have predicted, both sides of the dispute are trying their best to publicly make nice with one another. In news reports this weekend, House has shifted his description of the events that led to the crisis to a “family dispute”–which sounds somewhat less newsworthy than “attempted blackmail.” Likewise, Attorney General Coffman meekly wished House success in 2016 after the GOP executive committee voted to summarily reject her case for his firing.

Unfortunately for Attorney General Coffman, she made the mistake of granting another interview to 9NEWS’ Brandon Rittiman on Friday night, after blowing off Rittiman earlier in the week in favor of friendlier interviews with the Denver Post and CBS4’s Shaun Boyd. And Rittiman, true to his well-earned reputation for asking the hard questions without fear or favor, didn’t let Coffman off the hook:

[Coffman] says that the first same of a woman who now claims to be House’s mistress was mentioned after the group listed its concerns with House in the role at the head of the state party.

After being asked by 9NEWS political reporter Brandon Rittiman to explain to the public why that shouldn’t be perceived as political blackmail, [Pols emphasis] Coffman gave her thinking for dropping the woman’s name in conversation.

Coffman: “Honestly, it was a way to get his attention. It was a conversation to try and say we have concerns. And Steve was not listening to us. He was flippant about it. He showed no signs of taking seriously what we were talking to him about he seemed impatient and exasperated with us. And honestly it was a way to get his attention. And say ‘we know this.'” [Pols emphasis]
Rittiman: “Well that sounds almost like you’re using it as leverage though…”
Coffman: “No. I mean, Brandon you can read it that way if you want to…”
Rittiman: “I’m asking. You were there and I wasn’t.”
Coffman: “No. It was not. It was not. It was not intended that way at all.”

It's not a new concept.

It’s not a new concept.

As we’ve noted previously, Colorado law on criminal extortion is not ambiguous, and clearly specifies that making “a substantial threat” to “cause economic hardship or bodily injury to, or damage the property or reputation of” another person to induce them to “perform an act” “against their will” is a class 4 felony. Nothing that came out during Friday’s hearing of the GOP executive committee mitigates the severity of these allegations–not the possibility that the rumors of an extramarital affair by House were true, nor anything else Coffman invoked to justify her attempt to force House to resign.

And no matter how much Steve House, Cynthia Coffman, or anybody else involved in this story would like for it to go away, it’s not going to. The possibility of a felony crime committed or abetted by Colorado’s chief law enforcement officer is much too serious to be quashed by a vote of a state political party’s committee. As of Friday, trusted sources continued to assure us that the U.S. Attorney’s office “has the case.” Experts with prosecutorial experience tell us it’s routine, even expected, that a prosecuting attorney’s office will not confirm any disposition of a case referred to it until a decision to formally investigate has been reached. Until we hear the definitive answer to that question, we aren’t declaring Coffman or anyone else in the clear criminally.

Even in the absence of criminal prosecution for this case of alleged blackmail, it’s worth reflecting today on the enormous damage done to the Colorado Republican Party in the last two weeks by this scandal. A party chairman only in his job for a matter of weeks was the subject of a sustained, determined character assassination attempt, led by the Republican Party’s biggest vote-getter in 2014. After ousting the previous chairman Ryan Call, who had alienated many grassroots conservatives over his occasional outbreaks of sanity and human decency, the Colorado Republican Party has descended into total backstabbing chaos. To the low information rank-and-file, this infighting is absolutely devastating to morale. Depending on which side of the divide major GOP donors found themselves, wallets are almost certain to close for the 2016 election cycle.

Politically, either in the near or long term it’s a career-ending disaster for Cynthia Coffman. Her judgment in the aftermath of this self-inflicted wound simply can’t be trusted–by political allies, or the voters who would ultimately elect her to something else. There’s a well-grounded argument to be made that after this incident, Coffman has no moral authority to continue to serve as Colorado’s attorney general.

Any way you stack what just happened here, it wasn’t worth the damage.

Gay bashing filled the halls of the Western Conservative Summit

(As if they could help themselves – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rick Santorum.

Rick Santorum.

Reporters covering the Western Conservative Summit did a good job spotlighting the gay bashing that filled the event over the weekend.

The Denver Post got the money quote for irony from Sen. Bill Armstrong, president of Colorado Christian University, which sponsored the summit through its think tank, the Centennial Institute.

“I do think that the homosexual agenda in part is to shut down further discussion of the [morality of the gay] issue. That will not happen,” Armstrong told The Post.

Who’s shutting down the discussion? Armstrong is the guy who refused to let the Log Cabin Republicans have its own booth at the event to discuss the issue with participants, saying the pro-gay organization doesn’t fit well with his group.

The Post reported that Rick Santorum, who’s again running for President, shared Armstrong’s views during his Summit appearance.

“Why are we losing the public debate? You can’t win an argument you don’t make,” Santorum said. “We have been bullied into silence, in not standing up for the truth and here’s where we are.”

Of course, the anti-gay side of the discussion was well represented at the gathering, with presidential hopefuls slamming last week’s Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage.

And, as I reported today for RH Reality Check, the official registration packets for the Summit contained a booklet titled, “Top Ten Myths About Homosexuality,” published by the Family Research Council.

The “myths” included that “homosexual conduct is not harmful to one’s physical health,” “children raised by homosexuals are no different than children raised by heterosexuals, nor do they suffer harm,” “homosexual relationships are just the same as heterosexual ones, except for the gender of the partners,” and, maybe the worst, “Homosexuals are no more likely to molest children than heterosexuals.”

Summit organizers did not shut down the pro-gay side of the debate completely. They allowed the Log Cabin Republicans to share a table with the Colorado GOP, and progressive bloggers covered the event. And The Post reported that younger Republicans at the event supported the Supreme Court’s decision.

Still, if you attended the Summit, and opened your ears, you heard gay bashing.

“I have nothing against gay people,” Ben Carson said at one evening session, adding, “Like everybody else, they don’t get extra rights. And they don’t get to change things for everybody else.”

Get More Smarter on Monday (June 29)

MoreSmarterLogo-300x218It’s been three days, and gay marriage still hasn’t destroyed your “traditional” marriage–really! It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► LGBT rights advocates local and national are basking in the afterglow of Friday’s historic U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage once and for all. With this civil rights milestone achieved, the next logical step–stamping out discrimination against LGBT Americans–looms large:

Longtime gay-rights advocates such as political strategist Ted Trimpa contrasted Friday’s announcement with the memory of disappointment in 1992 when the state’s voters approved the anti-gay Amendment 2.

“Take that feeling and pair it with the joy of seeing the decision this morning,” said Trimpa. “It’s quite a journey.”

But he joined many others in cautioning that even in the wake of this legal victory, that journey still has miles to go.

“Over half the states in this country still allow a person to be fired, denied housing or denied services at a business, just because they’re gay,” Trimpa said. “So we’re all going to wake up and it’s like Alabama: Somebody could get married, take a marriage picture and put it on their desk — and get fired.”

Down the street at the Western Conservative Summit this weekend, a very different view of the same decision from GOP presidential hopefuls and religious right activists:

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, the first presidential nominee to speak at the Summit, was among them. He thinks the ruling redefined marriage. If it’s not about procreative sex for the sake of stable family units, it’s not marriage. “Now we are faced with a society that says marriage has nothing to do with children,” he said. “If the family goes, there’s nothing left.”

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council — a conservative Christian lobbying group — followed up. He, too, objected to the Supreme Court’s ruling on moral grounds, reiterating that marriage is an institution defined as the union between one man and one woman for the purpose of child-bearing. “The Supreme Court does not have the moral authority to change what it did not create,” he said…

Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee echoed that sentiment, but chose a different historical ruling for comparison. “Conservatives can do same thing that Abraham Lincoln did about the Dred Scott decision of 1857,” he said. “[Lincoln] simply ignored the ruling and said, ‘That’s not correct.’”

All of which casts the recent embarrassing fight over the Log Cabin Republicans’ exclusion from the Western Conservative Summit in sharp relief.

► Meanwhile in the Colorado Supreme Court, a major decision announced today striking down Douglas County’s controversial religious school voucher program.

► In case you missed it Friday, The Coffmangate scandal took a turn for the comedic after the Colorado Republican Party’s executive committee voted almost unanimously–22 to 1–to support chairman Steve House after nearly two weeks of a dissenting faction led by Attorney General Cynthia Coffman trying to force him to resign. Another round of damning blackmail admissions Friday by Cynthia Coffman may keep the story going despite House’s attempts to lead everyone in singing Kumbaya. Stay tuned…

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

SCOCO Strikes Down DougCo’s Vouchers For Religious Schools Program

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

POLS UPDATE: Statement from the ACLU of Colorado:

“Parents are free to send their children to private religious schools if they wish, but the Colorado Supreme Court affirmed today that taxpayers should not be forced to pay for it,” said ACLU of Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein.

Counsel for Petitioners, Matt Douglas, said that: “The court made clear that this type of program violates the plain language of the Colorado Constitution, and rejected the argument that temporarily passing the money through the hands of parents could avoid this specific prohibition.”

The program provided 500 students with vouchers worth about $4,600, which could be spent on tuition at religious and other private schools. In order to obtain per-pupil educational funds from the state, Douglas County classified these children as “public school students” who attended a charter school that did not actually exist.

In reality, the voucher money was spent at district-approved “Private School Partners,” a collection of private schools. According to the Court, 16 of the 23 approved Private School Partners were sectarian. The court found that this violated the “broad, unequivocal language forbidding the State from using public money to fund religious schools.”

“The Colorado Constitution provides very strong safeguards for the separation of church and state, and today’s decision preserves and honors those protections,” said Heather L. Weaver, senior staff attorney for the ACLU’s Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief.

—–

The Colorado Supreme Court has determined that a Douglas County School District program that provided vouchers for district students to attend religious schools violates the State Constitution in a manner that is not pre-empted by federal law or the United States Constitution.  The trial court had come to the same conclusion, but was overruled by the Colorado Court of Appeals.  This decision reinstates the trial court’s permanent injunction of the practice.

Article IX (Education), Section 7 of Colorado’s state constitution, which has been effective since August 1, 1876, states:

Aid to private schools, churches, sectarian purpose, forbidden

Neither the general assembly, nor any county, city, town, township, school district or other public corporation, shall ever make any appropriation, or pay from any public fund or moneys whatever, anything in aid of any church or sectarian society, or for any sectarian purpose, or to help support or sustain any school, academy, seminary, college, university or other literary or scientific institution, controlled by any church or sectarian denomination whatsoever; nor shall any grant or donation of land, money or other personal property, ever be made by the state, or any such public corporation to any church, or for any sectarian purpose.

The Douglas County School Board adopted the program after a partisan Republican takeover of the non-partisan school board, as part of a group of controversial reforms in the district.

Monday Open Thread

“I think we consider too much the good luck of the early bird and not enough the bad luck of the early worm.”

–Franklin D. Roosevelt

Carly Fiorina Gets A Little Klingenschmitt On Her

As the Denver Post’s Lynn Bartels reported Friday, one of the gaggle of Republican presidential hopefuls in Denver this weekend for the Western Conservative Summit, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, was featured at a RealClearPolitics event at the Brown Palace:

Fiorina spoke at the Brown Palace in Denver at an event sponsored by RealClearPolitics. She also will address the Western Conservative Summit, which kicks off its three-day gathering in Denver on Friday. She received a warm reception — state Rep. Perry Buck, R-Windsor, cheered as Fiorina took the stage after being introduced by Carl Cannon, the Washington bureau chief for RealClearPolitics.

On the timely subject of marriage equality for LGBT Americans, the “moderate” Fiorina had this statement:

I support civil unions and I have for a very long time because I do not believe government can discriminate in any way. Everyone should be protected equally under the law. It’s why I provided benefits to same-sex couples way back in 1999 when I came to Hewlett Packard.

On the other hand, marriage means something very specific. I do not think it is the purview of five people on the Supreme court, unelected and unaccountable, to think in their hubris that they have the power to change that. I hope that after this decision we will focus on preserving and protecting religious liberty because there are millions of people who disagree with this decision. I’m one of those people who believes marriage is between a man and a woman. [Pols emphasis]

As if to reinforce the point, here’s what may go down as the defining image of Fiorina’s weekend in Denver:

fiorinachaps

Now folks, it’s not like we expect Republican candidates for President, or more appropriately their staff, to consult the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of hate groups to necessarily know that this is Colorado Rep. Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt. The same “Dr. Chaps” who has been made infamous in local, and sometimes national press with his SPLC-listed Pray In Jesus’ Name Youtube ministry, expounding on demon possessed-ness of President Barack Obama, the media, the gays, abortionists, and we’ve surely missed a few others. The same “Dr. Chaps” who said a sitting member of Congress wants to behead Christians ISIS-style, and who turns the lurid crime headlines of the day into “God’s wrath upon America.”

So in the future, maybe it would be, you know, smart for presidential candidates and their ever-watchful highly paid staff to screen this guy at the photo-ops. Right? Learn to know him the way we know him.

What’s that you say? Isn’t he an incumbent Colorado state representative?

The answer of course is yes, national spotlight–but that’s our problem.

Marriage Equality The Law of the Land

SATURDAY UPDATE: Last night’s celebration at the Colorado Capitol was fittingly historic in itself, photo courtesy One Colorado:

comarriageequality

—–

loveisequal
Graphic via Rep. Jared Polis

UPDATE #4: Colorado Democratic legislative leaders weigh in:

“’Justice delayed is justice denied,’ and today – finally – the delay is over, and all loving families have the right to marriage. It is about time!” said Sen. Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora, Senate Democratic Leader. “Today we should honor those who fought for equality before us, but sadly aren’t here to see the outcome of their struggle. And we should also celebrate the fact that love finally won. Love will always prevail over hate and intolerance. What a great day for all Americans!”

“The Court has brought the finishing touch to the long journey for equality in marriage,” said Sen. Lucia Guzman, D-Denver. “On the Eve of our country celebrating our freedom, may we all stop for a moment and give thanks to all who have fought the great battles for Justice.”

“Colorado Democrats have been fighting for equality for the LGBT community for a long time,” said Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, D-Boulder. “Today’s decision in the Supreme Court affirms what I’ve known since this fight was just getting started: no matter how long it takes, no matter how hard it gets, no matter what the opponents of equality throw in our way, in the end, love wins.”

“In the 90’s, Colorado was called the ‘hate state’ with the passage of Amendment 2,” said Rep. Paul Rosenthal, D-Denver, co-chair of the House LGBT Caucus. “Since then, we have acted quickly and broadly on LGBT equality. Colorado set the table and helped shape the debate that led to today’s Supreme Court decision, and I couldn’t be more proud to have been a part of it.”

“From designated beneficiaries to two-parent adoption, the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, to civil unions and today’s decision, Colorado has been on the right track for LGBT individuals and families for a long time,” said Rep. Joann Ginal, D-Fort Collins, co-chair of the House LGBT Caucus. “I’m proud to have been part of the caucus to sponsor and pass the Colorado Civil Unions Act in 2013, and today’s decision finally gives all Americans the right to marry who they love.”

UPDATE #3: Rep. Diana DeGette of Denver is ready to officiate more weddings:

“Finally, every loving couple in the United States may choose to express their commitment in marriage and be assured of its legal benefits and responsibilities. This is a proud moment in our ongoing march towards full equality.

“I was particularly touched by Justice Kennedy’s observation about the children of same sex couples, who have borne the burden of the inequality of their parents’ relationships, observing:

‘[e]xcluding same-sex couples from marriage thus conflicts with a central premise of the right to marry. Without the recognition, stability, and predictability marriage offers, their children suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser. They also suffer the significant material costs of being raised by unmarried parents, relegated through no fault of their own to a more difficult and uncertain family life.’

“That stigma ends now.

“I have proudly officiated services for same sex couples, and I have my minister’s license ready to perform more.”

—–

UPDATE #2: Polar opposite statements two Colorado congressmen–Rep. Jared Polis:

“The road to LGBT equality in America has not been an easy one. From the Stonewall riots in 1969, to an epidemic that killed hundreds of thousands of gay men; from a Supervisor assassinated for refusing to blend in, to a Wyoming college student beaten to death for his sexual orientation, that road has been paved with far too many tragic days.

“Today is not one of those. Today is a day to celebrate, as we’ve overcome one of our most challenging obstacles yet.

“With today’s decision, the Court ruled in no uncertain terms that the bonds of love, commitment, and responsibility that all our families share exist without regard to gender and deserve the dignity of being recognized under the law.”

Compare that to GOP Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs:

“I am very disappointed that the Supreme Court chose to utilize their power to disenfranchise millions of Americans with valid moral and cultural concerns via this decision. By undertaking this staggering judicial overreach, the Court, in its very finite wisdom, has decided to throw out thousands of years of tradition and societal structure. Decisions of this magnitude should absolutely be made on a state-by-state basis with local and individual citizen involvement. This decision is a slap in the face to all Americans who value this tradition of local government.”

Meanwhile, Rep. Mike Coffman is ready to change the subject:

“The world is changing, and while I’ve supported traditional marriage, the court has ruled a ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. It is time we move forward and focus on the big debates of our day — how to keep our country safe and get Americans back to work.”

(more…)